Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Reason, institutions and evolution.

The statement that institutions define different kinds of rationalities is a mislead conception of the evolutionary interaction between mind and its environment. Rationality is only of one type: the adjustment of means to ends. Although this instrumental notion of reason has its failures, is better than any paralogism. What institutions really do is to condition rational agent’s decisions to follow a certain pattern in order to maximize the utility of his resources. The result of this conditioning is a rational action according to the limitations imposed by institutions. Nevertheless, reason is always only one –what change are the different outcomes of its application in different environments. What evolve are the institutional frame and, specially, an important part of it: the strategies for adaptation to the environment. At this point, we need to feed the Hayekian social thought on game theory.